Our long-lost ancestors worked the ‘slumped shoulder’ strut for close access to the ground when it came to dinner time. But it’s been millions of years since we lit fires and straightened up. So why do we still slouch? The medical explanation is that we slouch because the muscles that work to hold the joint in place are imbalanced. Leave imbalanced muscles aside, we also slouch because we’ve become zombies, who sit slumped over while staring at the TV for hours on end. And that’s not to mention all the slouching we get up to while sitting in traffic or in our office cubicles.
Our hectic lifestyles have also contributed to our poor posture. Bad sleeping habits, work and home life stress, and a poor choice of footwear can also be blamed for a Quasimodo-like appearance. Slouching can cause all sort of havoc in our bodies, triggering headaches, back pain, and problems with digestion and breathing.
So before you hurriedly type ‘how to improve posture’ into your computer, the good news is improving your posture is possible with a few tricks of the trade. Next time you catch yourself hunched over your desk at work, take a moment to sit back, relax and straighten your back. If you’re sitting too far away from your desk or computer, pull your chair closer or move your computer monitor nearer to you on your desk. Check your chair is high enough to fit your desk and you might find it helpful to ask for a footrest for your legs. Ensure you have plenty of breaks to stretch when sitting for many hours. Frequent break-taking is essential for a healthy back, but beyond posture, it’s important for your eyes and your general wellbeing. Like all habits, learning how to improve your posture isn’t going to be a quick fix. It takes a conscious effort to catch yourself slouching and then learning to correct your back.
If you’re not entirely sure if you have good posture or not, there are always ways to check. To ensure you have proper posture while you sit, you’ll need to keep your shoulders back, open your chest and make your back straight and tall.To keep your shoulders back, you need to move your shoulders back and push your chest out. You should feel your head move back as well. This should open up your chest and tuck in your abdomen muscles.
Don’t feel shy to discuss your office space with your employers, the benefits of improving your posture should be in everyone’s best interest as you become a healthier and happier employee.